last night cory doctorow, of boingboing and electronic frontier foundation fame, gave a public lecture right here in brisbane as part of the ideas festival. naturally he was going to talk about something tech/internet related. but despite the predictablity of topics, it was a very good lecture.

he gave a fantastic overview of drm and the horrific potential future should the large ip holders – companies, collecting societies and the likes – get their way.

he talked about the lastest swag of measures being pushed by major ip owners in the drm war: broadcast flags. this marks the broadening of the drm concept beyound the internet and into any form of digital content (ever wondered why the DTV push is on?). built-in restrictions that tell your digital technology what it will allow you to do. for example, some programs on DTV won’t be able to be stored on a hard disk, or will automatically delete after expiration of a defined period. doctorow even when to far as to say that some digital technology will shut itself off to ensure contravention does not occur. he cites a child’s first steps as an example, saying imagine your child is taking thier first steps across the lounge room. you’re recording with your digital camera and as you pan past the television the camera recognises a broadcast flag which restricts copying the images on screen, and the camera shuts itself off.”

so how much freedom will new technology really give us?